How to avoid sickness when you ride the rails (or the bus)

How to avoid sickness when you ride the rails (or the bus)

If you commute on the cramped trains or buses of Metra or the Chicago Transit Authority, you’re particularly susceptible to the flu virus. It’s time to take some extra precautions.

Crowding is a definite risk factor in the spread of influenza, says Dr. James Malow, chair of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s department of internal medicine in Chicago.

Here are his suggestions for avoiding the bug:

  • Get a flu shot! Whether you commute or not, the flu shot remains the most effective means to prevent influenza. It’s not too late to get your shot.
  • Stay home! If you’re sick with flu-like symptoms—coughing, fever and muscle aches, don’t put your fellow commuters and office mates at risk! Don’t return to work until you are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprophen, etc.)
  • Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow to avoid contaminating your hands and spreading the germs when you touch a common surface, like a metal pole, handrail or a seat.
  • Wash your hands often using an alcohol-based hand gel or soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your mouth and nose, as this is a common means of spreading germs.


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  1. Lisa Parro

    Wear gloves even when it’s not freezing and slather on hand sanitizer often!

  2. Hand sanitizer Does NOT kill flu or other Viruses. In fact 80% alcohol, Lysol, needs 10 minutes contact time on a clean non porous surface. Germs are bscteria only. Hep B & C, Aids, Flu, Cruise Ship Roto Vitus, are not touched by 62% ethyl Alcohol or 70% so called better does NOTHING regarding a Virus. I put 91% into my bottles and label as such and that might kill a small percentage of viruses versus porosity and contact time.

    Please help me. The CDC and others will not explain how misleading the term kills germs is to people. Germs are defined by the product makers as bacteria. But, that is on tiny print. Can you help me?

  3. Lynn Hutley

    I agree, Lisa. I kinda want to wrap myself in a bubble this time of year!

  4. Lourdes Guerrero December 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm · Reply

    I have to agree with Lisa Parro, I wear gloves. Maybe there’s something to be said about wearing gloves all the time. I just inherited over 1/2 dozen white gloves from relatives. When it’s too warm for the suede & leather, it might be time for the cotton.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.